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What Is the Best Living Arrangement for You?

As the pandemic drags on, especially in places like the U.S. where there is no end in sight, lots of people are thinking about their living arrangements. Some are so very grateful to be living just as they are, whether that is alone (in my case) or in one of the many different ways of living with other people.

Others, though, are not so happy. It was like they were playing musical chairs, the music stopped, and they ended up in a place they never intended to be, at least not for the long haul, and not during a pandemic.

How should they think about this? How can they figure out the best way to live, for them?

A few years ago, I wrote a book relevant to that topic, How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century. Here’s what I had to say about finding the lifespace that is right for you.

So how do you know what’s right for you? Think about each of the different ways you’ve lived, and how you might answer some of my favorite questions that I put to the people I interviewed:

  • Did you get the amount of privacy and alone time that you wanted?
  • What about time with other people: Was it about what you wanted, or were you wishing for more or less of it?
  • What was the best experience you had while living that way? Any experiences that made you wish you were living some other way?
  • When you had been away for a while, how did it feel to come back?

Now consider all of your lifespaces at once and answer these questions:

  • Of all the different ways you have lived, what felt like the best fit for you?
  • What was the happiest time in your life?
  • How would you live if you could magically live any way at all? Pretend money is no object, and neither is anything else.

I hope that the many different stories you have encountered in this book have suggested that the universe of potential lifespaces is bigger than you realized and that even if money is an obstacle in your life and not the only one, there are still opportunities to find the place, the space, and the people that make your life the best it can be. Maybe you’ll even become one of the next lifespace pioneers, coming up with something so creative that even today’s dreamy innovators could never have imagined it.

What Is the Best Living Arrangement for You?

Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

Bella DePaulo (Ph.D., Harvard; Academic Affiliate, Psychological and Brain Sciences, UC Santa Barbara), an expert on single life, is the author of several books, including "Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After" and "How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century." Her TEDx talk is "What no one ever told you about people who are single." Dr. DePaulo has discussed singles and single life on radio and television, including NPR and CNN, and her work has been described in newspapers such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and magazines such as Time, Atlantic, the Week, More, the Nation, Business Week, AARP Magazine, and Newsweek. Dr. DePaulo is in her sixties. She has always been single and always will be. She is "single at heart" -- single is how she lives her best and most meaningful life. Visit her website at

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APA Reference
DePaulo, B. (2020). What Is the Best Living Arrangement for You?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 28, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 Aug 2020
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